|Publication number||US4437532 A|
|Application number||US 06/393,350|
|Publication date||20 Mar 1984|
|Filing date||29 Jun 1982|
|Priority date||13 Jul 1981|
|Publication number||06393350, 393350, US 4437532 A, US 4437532A, US-A-4437532, US4437532 A, US4437532A|
|Inventors||Keiichi Nakamura, Kyosuke Haga, Yutaka Mori|
|Original Assignee||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (21), Classifications (5), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a steering force controller for controlling a steering force generated by a power steering device by the utilization of a control circuit such as, for example, a microcomputer.
2. Description of the Prior Art
It has been known heretofore to change the steering force or the output torque relative to the input torque, of a power steering device based upon various parameters such as vehicle speed, steering rotary angle, lateral acceleration and so forth. In a known steering force controller for a power steering device, vehicle speed, steering rotary angle, lateral acceleration and so forth are detected by respective sensors, whose outputs are then processed to calculate a control electric current. This control electric current is applied to a linear solenoid valve for controlling steering force, whereby a part of pressurized fluid is controllably bypassed from a high pressure passage directly to a low pressure passage so as to change the volume of pressurized fluid to be supplied into the power steering device.
However, in the known steering force controller, no output torque is detected, resulting in the fact that the output torque cannot be controlled relative to the input torque to follow an objective characteristic even when electric current suitable to cause the output torque to follow the objective characteristic is applied to the solenoid valve. Particularly, once a disturbance causes the output torque to deviate from the objective characteristic, such deviation cannot be obviated, and therefore, the control system is unstable.
Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved steering force controller capable of realizing an optimum steering force control by detecting input and output torques of a power steering device and at least one other control input and by controlling the actual steering characteristic, determined by the detected input and output torques, to follow an objective steering characteristic which is predetermined taking into account of the one other control input.
Briefly, according to the present invention, there is provided a steering force controller, including an input torque sensor, an output torque sensor for detecting an output torque generated by a power steering device, and at least one auxiliary input sensor for detecting an auxiliary input independent of the input and output torques, wherein steering force is controlled in relation to the detected output torque in addition to the input torque applied to the power steering device and the output of the auxiliary sensor. More particularly, a control circuit device is provided, which obtains an objective output torque value based upon the detected input torque value and the detected auxiliary input value. The control circuit device calculates a control value based upon the objective output torque value and the detected output torque value and outputs the calculated control value to a solenoid drive circuit for controlling a linear solenoid valve which is provided in a fluid control system of the power steering device. Since the control value applied to the solenoid drive circuit is calculated as a result of comparing the actual output torque value with the objective output torque value, the output torque generated by the power steering device is controlled to follow the objective output torque value.
The foregoing and other objects and many of the attendant advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal cross-sectional view of a linear solenoid valve used in the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a steering force controller for a power steering device according to the present invention;
FIGS. 3(A) and 3(B) are explanatory charts illustrating memory organization for storing objective output torque data and associated control current data in a read-only memory shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a flow chart of a program for a digital computer shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a solenoid drive circuit provided in an interface circuit shown in FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a timing diagram illustrating signals shown in FIG. 5; and
FIG. 7 is a graph illustrating an input-output characteristic of the power steering device.
Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals or characters refer to identical or corresponding parts throughout the several views, and more particularly to FIG. 1, there is shown a power steering device 10 including a valve housing containing therein a known servo valve, not shown, and a power cylinder 11 receiving a piston 11a. A linear solenoid valve 12 is provided on the power cylinder 11 for controlling the communication and shut-off between the cylinder chambers of the power cylinder 11. The linear solenoid valve 12 includes a valve housing 13 formed with an internal bore 14, into which a spool 15 is slidably received. The spool 15 is provided with a bypass slit 16 and is normally held at its lower end position by means of a spring 17 to shut off the communication between a port 18 leading to the left cylinder chamber of the power cylinder 11 and a port 19 leading to the right cylinder chamber of the power cylinder 11. However, when the spool 15 is moved upwardly against the spring 17 in accordance with electric current applied to a solenoid 20, the ports 18 and 19 communicate with each other through the bypass slit 16. Accordingly, a steering force is changed depending upon displacement of the spool 15, which in turn depends on the electric current applied to the solenoid 20.
Referring now to FIG. 2, which shows a control circuit for controlling the linear solenoid valve 12, reference numeral 21 indicates a sensor for detecting a vehicle speed V, 22 indicates a sensor for detecting a rotary angle θ of a steering wheel, 23 indicates a sensor for detecting an input torque (steering wheel torque) TM, 24 indicates a sensor for detecting an output torque TS, and 25 indicates a differentiation circuit for differentiating an output of the rotary angle sensor 22 to output a signal responsive to a rotary speed θ of the steering wheel. Analog outputs detected by these sensors 21 to 24 and the differentiation circuit 25 are applied to a multiplexer 26 to be selected on a time sharing basis and then input to an analog-to-digital converter 27 to be converted into respective digital values. It is to be noted here that the steering wheel rotary speed θ can also be obtained by computer software for differentiating the output of the rotary angle sensor 22 after having been converted by the A-D converter 27.
Reference numeral 28 indicates a central processing unit (CPU) formed of a microcomputer for performing digital arithmetic processing, 29 indicates a read-only memory (ROM) for storing fixed programs, which are described in detail hereinafter, 30 indicates a random access memory (RAM), and 31 indicates an interface circuit. This interface circuit 31 receives a signal from the A-D converter 27 to apply the same to the CPU 28. The interface circuit 31 also performs a duty cycle control of electric current to be applied to the linear solenoid valve 12 in response to a signal from the CPU, as will be described hereinafter, and applies its output to the solenoid 20 through an amplifier 32.
FIGS. 3A and 3B show fixed programs stored in the ROM 29. An objective output torque TSO relative to an input torque TM is programmed in a matrix in accordance with respective input torque TM, vehicle speed V, steering wheel rotary angle θ and steering wheel rotary speed θ. More specifically, input torque TM, vehicle speed V, steering wheel rotary angle θ and steering wheel rotary speed θ are respectively divided into plural areas. As shown in FIG. 3(A), a plurality of data tables (00), (01), (02) . . . are allotted in accordance with relationship (TMj, Vj) between the input torque TM and the vehicle speed V. As shown in FIG. 3(B), in each of the data tables (00), (01), (02) . . . , a plurality of areas are allotted in accordance with relationship (θj, θj) between the steering wheel rotary speed θ and the steering wheel rotary angle θ, and an objective output torque TSO and a reference electric current i are programmed in each area. These data for objective output torque TSO and the reference electric current i are set by experience in the following manner.
A basic characteristic (solid line in FIG. 7) of the objective output torque TSO relative to the input torque TM is set in accordance with TM-TS characteristic (two-dot-and-dash-line in FIG. 7) determined by the initial design factors so as to render the vehicle slightly heavier with respect to the steering action. The objective output torque TSO is set to be smaller (TSO-ΔTSO) than the basic characteristic value in order to improve the steering stability as the vehicle speed V increases. On the other hand, the objective output torque TSO is set to be larger (TSO+ΔTSO) than the basic characteristic value in order to improve the steering response as the steering wheel rotary speed θ increases. The objective output torque TSO is also determined in accordance with the TM-TS characteristic in case where the vehicle speed V is zero or the steering wheel rotary angle θ is maximum.
Accordingly, assuming now that the input torque TM, the vehicle speed V, the steering rotary angle θ and the steering rotary speed θ are respectively in the ranges of TM1<TM<TM2, V2<V<V3, θ1<θ<θ2 and θ2<θ<θ3, there are read out the objective output torque value TSO and the reference current value i which have been stored in the obliquely lined area of the data table shown in FIG. 3(B). The read-out objective torque value TSO is an optimum value of output torque to be generated in the above-assumed driving condition, and the reference current value i is a nominal electric current value required to attain the objective output torque value TSO.
The above-described method, in which a plurality of objective output torque values TSO corresponding respectively to various input torque values TM are programmed in the form of a matrix, makes it easy to obtain a complicated characteristic, while requiring the ROM 29 of an increased capacity. Therefore, a substitutive method may be used wherein a predetermined functional equation is stored for use in calculating an objective output torque value based upon control input data.
A control program will be described hereinafter with reference to FIG. 4. Each of control inputs, namely input torque TM, output torque TS, vehicle speed V, steering rotary angle θ and steering rotary speed θ which change momentarily is detected by a corresponding one of the sensors 21-25 and is filtered to be nullified when reaching either of extremely large and small values which have been predetermined for each of the control inputs. Each of these control inputs is added several times to obtain the average value thereof which is then stored in the RAM 30. Therefore, it is to be understood that the control inputs (TM, TS, V, θ and θ) as referred to in the following description mean the respective average values.
The execution of the control program is started upon power being supplied to the CPU 28, and a base routine of the program is firstly executed. That is, in step 40, control inputs of the input torque TM, the output torque TS, the vehicle speed V, the steering rotary angle θ and the steering rotary speed θ are successively read into associated buffer registers, not shown. In step 41, an objective output torque value TSO and a reference current value i are selectively read out from the fixed program shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B based upon the read control inputs TM, V, θ and θ to be stored in the RAM 30. Step 42 is then executed to ascertain whether the difference between the actual output torque TS detected in step 40 and the objective output torque value TSO exceeds a tolerance ε. When the difference is smaller than the tolerance ε, a compensating value Δio is set to be zero in step 43.
When the difference between the objective output torque value TSO and the actual output torque TS is larger than the tolerance ε, step 44 is reached, wherein the compensating value Δio corresponding to the difference is calculated in accordance with the following equation.
The values α and β in this equation may be constants or may be values calculated from functional equations which include the control inputs TM, V, θ and θ as their parameters. The calculated compensating value Δio is stored in the RAM 30 in step 45, whereafter return is made to step 40, so that the above-described processing steps B·R are repeated while supply of power is maintained.
A subroutine S·R is initiated from step 46 when a hard wired timer circuit, not shown, provided in the interface circuit 31 applies an interruption signal to the central processing unit 28 at a predetermined time interval To shown in FIG. 6. In step 46, the compensating value Δio stored in the RAM 30 in the above-noted step 45 is referenced to in order to calculate a new compensating value Δi in accordance with the following equation.
Further, the following equation is used to calculate a control current value I based upon the calculated new compensating value Δi and the reference current value i which was stored in the RAM 30 in step 41.
The control current value I calculated using the above equation is output in step 47. The processing is then returned to the step of the base routine in which the interruption was applied, whereby the base routine is repeatedly executed until a new interruption is applied.
As the linear solenoid value 12 is controlled based upon the control current I obtained in the foregoing manner, the output torque TS relative to the input torque TM is controlled to follow the objective output torque value TSO. Subsequently, when it is ascertained in step 42 that the difference between the new output torque TS and the objective output torque TSO is still larger than the tolerance ε, a new compensating value Δio corresponding to the difference is calculated in step 44 in the same manner as described above. When the next interruption causes the execution of the step 46, the new compensating value Δio is added to the previous compensating value Δi, whereby the control current I output in step 47 is changed. In this manner, the output torque TS relative to the input torque TM is controlled to follow the objective output torque value TSO.
FIG. 5 shows a solenoid drive circuit provided in the above-noted input output interface circuit 31. The control current value I calculated by the CPU 28 is input to a duty register 50 at the predetermined time interval To and further, to a comparator 51. An output from a timer register 52 is also input to the comparator 51, which resets a flip-flop 53 when outputting a coincidence signal. A set output signal S2 from the flip-flop 53 is supplied to an AND gate 54 which receives a train of clock pulses CL shown in FIG. 6. The output of the AND gate 54 is input to the timer register 52. The flip-flop 53 is set each time it receives a signal Sl which is generated as every N-th clock pulse of the train of the clock pulses CL, and accordingly, at the predetermined time interval To. The timer register 52 is reset each time of receiving the signal S1.
Accordingly, while a control current value I is stored in the duty register 50, the comparator 51 outputs a coincidence signal to reset the flip-flop 53 each time the number of the clock pulses CL counted by the timer register 52 reaches the control current value I. Since the flip-flop 53 is reset at the predetermined time interval To, the set-output signal S2 of the flip-flop 53 is output during a predetermined period Tl of time which corresponds to the control current value I, within the predetermined time interval To, as shown in FIG. 6. The set-output signal S2 is applied to the solenoid 20 of the solenoid valve 12 through the amplifier 32. Consequently, the solenoid 20 generates attractive force corresponding to an effective value of the duty output signal S2 so as to displace the spool 15 in proportion to the control current value I.
Although in the above-described embodiment, the linear solenoid valve 12 is provided to control the bypassed flow of fluid between both cylinder chambers of the power cylinder 11, it may constitute a part of a bypass way communicating with supply and exhaust passages which respectively lead to a fluid supply and a reservoir thereof. Furthermore, the linear solenoid valve 12 may be incorporated into a supply pump so that the volume of supply fluid to the power steering device 10 can be variably controlled in response to input conditions.
Moreover, although in the above-described embodiment, the input torque (TM)-output torque (TS) characteristic is controlled in response to input conditions, including vehicle speed V, steering rotary angle θ and steering rotary speed θ, so as to follow the objective characteristic, the control parameters usable in the present invention are not limited to these input conditions. Besides these input conditions, lateral acceleration, live load and so forth may be used as control parameters. Furthermore, the output torque may be detected as the pressure of fluid generated in the power cylinder 11.
Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is to be understood, therefore, that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4509611 *||13 Oct 1983||9 Apr 1985||General Motors Corporation||Adaptive controller for electric power steering|
|US4574905 *||15 Nov 1983||11 Mar 1986||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Steering force controlling apparatus for power steering system|
|US4593783 *||25 Apr 1985||10 Jun 1986||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Power steering system|
|US4618018 *||21 Mar 1985||21 Oct 1986||Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||Power steering device for vehicles|
|US4624336 *||13 Nov 1984||25 Nov 1986||Allied Corporation||Electro/pneumatic power steering system|
|US4637483 *||22 Nov 1985||20 Jan 1987||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Steering characteristic controller for a power steering system|
|US4651840 *||26 Feb 1986||24 Mar 1987||Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||Motor-driven power steering system|
|US4653601 *||27 Dec 1985||31 Mar 1987||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Electric power steering system for a motor vehicle|
|US4664211 *||26 Nov 1985||12 May 1987||Fuji Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||Electric power steering system|
|US4676334 *||25 Apr 1986||30 Jun 1987||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Power steering system with hydraulic reaction|
|US4685528 *||14 Mar 1986||11 Aug 1987||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Electric power steering device for a motor vehicle|
|US4702335 *||28 May 1985||27 Oct 1987||Trw Inc.||Control apparatus for a power assist steering system|
|US4712631 *||26 Mar 1986||15 Dec 1987||Bendix France||Assisted steering system for a motor vehicle|
|US4745984 *||17 Jul 1986||24 May 1988||Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha Honda||Electric power steering system for vehicles|
|US4751649 *||29 May 1986||14 Jun 1988||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Motor vehicle with driving status discrimination device|
|US4773010 *||21 Mar 1986||20 Sep 1988||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Apparatus for detecting driving condition of automotive vehicle|
|US4773498 *||24 Dec 1986||27 Sep 1988||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Assisting power controller for an automotive power steering device|
|US4781263 *||8 Jan 1987||1 Nov 1988||Toyoda Koki Kabushiki Kaisha||Steering force controller for power steering device|
|US4800974 *||23 Oct 1985||31 Jan 1989||Trw Inc.||Electric steering gear|
|DE3542033A1 *||28 Nov 1985||5 Jun 1986||Fuji Heavy Ind Ltd||Elektrische kraftlenkanordnung|
|EP0164842A2 *||15 Apr 1985||18 Dec 1985||Trw Cam Gears Limited||Power assistance steering systems for vehicles|
|International Classification||B62D6/00, B62D6/02|
|22 Sep 1983||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TOYODA KOKI KABUSHIKII KAISHA 1-1 ASAHI MACHI KARI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNORS:MORI, YUTAKA;NAKAMURA, KEIICHI;REEL/FRAME:004172/0314;SIGNING DATES FROM 19820616 TO 19820619
Owner name: TOYODA KOKI KABUSHIKII KAISHA, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:MORI, YUTAKA;NAKAMURA, KEIICHI;SIGNING DATES FROM 19820616 TO 19820619;REEL/FRAME:004172/0314
|9 Sep 1987||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|9 Sep 1991||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|24 Oct 1995||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|17 Mar 1996||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|28 May 1996||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 19960320